Why Experts Are Worried About This Year's Flu Season
From October 1 to November 25 of this year, there have been 5,070 laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza in the United States – more than twice as many as the 2,510 flu cases diagnosed during the same time last year, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Since many people who come down with the flu don’t go to the doctor to be tested, the actual number of cases is probably higher, confirming fears that this flu season could be particularly severe.
Of additional concern: this year’s flu vaccine may be less effective than in past years. Last year, the flu vaccine was only about 46 percent effective in the U.S., according to the CDC.
Research published in Eurosurveillance in October suggests the vaccine used in Australia this year, which has the same composition of the one being used in the United States, was only about 10 percent effective. However, flu strains that predominate in North America this year may not be the same as the strains that hit Australia.